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Jack Whitten, ‘Psychic Intersection’, 1979-1980, The Studio Museum in Harlem
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Jack Whitten

Psychic Intersection, 1979-1980

Acrylic on canvas
42 × 42 × 1 1/2 in
106.7 × 106.7 × 3.8 cm
About the work
Exhibition history
Medium
Painting
Image rights
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Ruth Bocour in memorium of Leonard Bocour. Photo: Marc Bernier
Jack Whitten
American, 1939–2018
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Early on, Jack Whitten was influenced by both the Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism, but after meeting William de Kooning the balance tilted toward the latter. Blending figuration and abstraction, Whitten’s emotionally riveting gestural works—including a series on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—touched upon the racial turmoil he understood so well as an African American from the South. The 1970s marked a stylistic rupture, after which Whitten endeavored to define “a new spatial perception” by “experimenting with the possibilities of paint without imposing the added burden of psychological implications.” In this vein, he began to draw large fields of color across his canvases with Afro combs, squeegees, and homemade rakes to create what he called “Energy Fields”. Whitten’s recent experimentations take the form of mosaics, wherein he transforms paint compounds into tiles and applies them to canvas.

Jack Whitten, ‘Psychic Intersection’, 1979-1980, The Studio Museum in Harlem
Save
Save
Share
Share
About the work
Exhibition history
Medium
Painting
Image rights
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Ruth Bocour in memorium of Leonard Bocour. Photo: Marc Bernier
Jack Whitten
American, 1939–2018
Follow

Early on, Jack Whitten was influenced by both the Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism, but after meeting William de Kooning the balance tilted toward the latter. Blending figuration and abstraction, Whitten’s emotionally riveting gestural works—including a series on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—touched upon the racial turmoil he understood so well as an African American from the South. The 1970s marked a stylistic rupture, after which Whitten endeavored to define “a new spatial perception” by “experimenting with the possibilities of paint without imposing the added burden of psychological implications.” In this vein, he began to draw large fields of color across his canvases with Afro combs, squeegees, and homemade rakes to create what he called “Energy Fields”. Whitten’s recent experimentations take the form of mosaics, wherein he transforms paint compounds into tiles and applies them to canvas.

Jack Whitten

Psychic Intersection, 1979-1980

Acrylic on canvas
42 × 42 × 1 1/2 in
106.7 × 106.7 × 3.8 cm
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